In this episode of Make Room for Daddy, it's close to Margaret's birthday, Will she get what she wants? For Valentines Day she got a tape recorder which Danny uses to rehearse with, Find out in Make Room for Daddy!
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This was an American sitcom that only held on to the name Make Room for Daddy for the firs three seasons of its airing continued on as The Danny Thomas Show for the remainder of its airing time. The sitcom ran from 1953-1957 on ABC and for an additional seven seasons, from 1957-1964 on NBC, and Desilu Studios filmed the sitcom using the three-camera system. The sitcom was centered on the family life of a comedian and nightclub owner, Danny Williams (Danny Thomas), his wife, Margaret Williams (Jean Hagen), and their two children. One of the main recurring issues of the show dealt with the stark separation between the professional and domestic spheres, meaning that Margaret was left to handle the family on her own while her husband was working. At a time in television history that tended to focus around the nuclear family, Make Room for Daddy fell perfectly in line with the rest of its competitors until behind the scenes cast issues pushed the show in a different direction. Because of frequent disputes between co-stars Thomas and Hagen and overall dissatisfaction with her role on the show, Hagen chose to leave the show after the completion of the third season, making it one of the first sitcoms of the 60s that features the “broken” and “unconventional” family headed by Danny Williams because of his sitcom wife’s death off-screen; the changing of the sitcom’s name was brought upon by this break with Hagen. However, this family sitcom anomaly did not last for long as producers had Danny Williams remarried by the 5th season of it the shows airing; in holding with the standards of the 1950s, Williams’ daughter is sent to boarding school and married off, leaving women only in traditional domestic roles. The sitcom was aired only throughout primetime television times, rotating between Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights between 8:00 and 10:00 P.M.; its most frequently time slot was Monday nights at 9:30 on CBS. Initially the show was not off to a stellar start, not even making into the top 30 shows in its first 4 seasons, but skyrocketed in ratings after its fifth season in which Williams remarries. From this point on, The Danny Thomas Show would shuffle throughout the top ten show slots in all but its 8th season. The show was sold into syndication and was aired Monday-Friday on NBC until 1965 and reappeared on Nick at Nite in the late 1980s. This particular episode, “Margaret’s Birthday” clearly illustrates the separation of the male and the woman into separate spheres of existent, only representing Danny Williams in the home after long hard days at work and Margaret only in the professional realm to bring her husband his rain clothes. The female is represented as the subservient homemaker whose sole purpose is to her care for her family; in this episode, her concern is so exaggerated that Margaret goes out in the rain and catches a cold on her birthday so as to provide accommodations for her husband. Her only goal throughout the episode is to get Danny Williams to validate his love for her in front of her affluent female bridge club, and it really does not paint a positive picture of women during the time. The homemaker is concerned only with her family, material possessions, and the power of her husband to validate the worth of their marriage.
The two commercials were also fun, as were was the award plug at the end. They add historical context to the episode.
This does make me wonder: How many people have old audio tapes from the 1950s and 1960s of them talking (or having secretly recorded a group of people)? Those recordings might be interesting to hear today.